The Oxford Companion to African American Literature

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Here indeed is the pantheon of African American writers--Phillis Wheatley and Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois, Gwendolyn Brooks and Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen, James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, John Edgar Wideman and August Wilson, Jamaica Kincaid and Gloria Naylor, Stanley Crouch and Cornel West, and hundreds more. Moreover, the Companion includes entries on 150 major works of African American literature (including synopses of ...
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Overview


Here indeed is the pantheon of African American writers--Phillis Wheatley and Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois, Gwendolyn Brooks and Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen, James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, John Edgar Wideman and August Wilson, Jamaica Kincaid and Gloria Naylor, Stanley Crouch and Cornel West, and hundreds more. Moreover, the Companion includes entries on 150 major works of African American literature (including synopses of novels), from Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Richard Wright's Native Son, to Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun; on literary characters, ranging from Bigger Thomas, to Coffin Ed Johnson, Kunta Kinte, Sula Peace; on character types, such as Aunt Jemima, Brer Rabbit, John Henry, Stackolee, and the trickster; and on such icons of black culture as Muhammad Ali, John Coltrane, Marcus Garvey, Jackie Robinson, John Brown, and Harriet Tubman. Here, too, are general articles on the traditional literary genres, such as poetry, fiction, and drama; on genres of special import in African American letters, such as autobiography, slave narratives, Sunday School literature, and oratory; and on a wide spectrum of related topics, including journalism, the black periodical press, major libraries and research centers, religion, literary societies, women's clubs, and various publishing enterprises.

Beginning with Abolition and Address, Forms of and ending with Zeely and Zu-Boulton Ahmos II, the 300 or so contributors to The Oxford Companion to African American Literature have written not just entries but full articles on the writers, the works, the subjects and the genres that have formed African American literature. Edited by William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster and Trudier Harris, the book was proposed by Henry Louis Gates Jr. in 1977 and has now, after 20 years, come to pass.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This 'Companion,' which could hardly have been conceived twenty-five years ago, is a fitting crown to the astonishing production in African American literature and criticism that has swept over American literary studies in the last two decades. With this remarkable resource at hand, the study of African-American literature will never again be relegated to the margins of the larger field. It is a breath-taking achievement." --Nellie McKay, Professor of American & African-American Literature, University of Wisconsin, Madison

"This is an indispensable collection of the voices and visions of African-American writers and thinkers from the dawn of America to the present. No library is complete without this volume."--Darlene Clark Hine

Booknews
This collaborative undertaking involved some 300 contributors to produce an encyclopedic reference with entries focusing in particular on the lives and careers of 400-plus writers. Also included are entries on traditional literary genres as well as genres of special import in African American letters, such as autobiography, slave narratives, Sunday school literature, and oratory; on related topics including journalism, the black periodical press, major libraries and research centers, religion, publishing enterprises; and on customs, cultural expressions, and unique aspects of the black experience. A five-part, 15-page essay surveys the literary history of African American writing from the colonial era to the present day. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195065107
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/1/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 896
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 2.70 (d)

Meet the Author

William L. Andrews is E. Maynard Adams Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Frances Smith Foster is Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Women's Studies at Emory University. Trudier Harris is J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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